Every startup knows the drill--you're big on dreams but short on cash. Fortunately, we've got the scoop on how to stretch your budget.
First, says Stephanie Frank, a business consultant and author of The Accidental Millionaire, "You've got to have a plan--you've got to know what your cash flow is." Know what you have in your coffers, and always plan for contingencies.
Also try keeping costs down like Jennifer Zan-kan, founder of Jeneration PR, a fashion and beauty PR and marketing agency in Sherman Oaks, California. Starting up in March 2005, Zankan, 30, invested the bulk of her $4,000 in startup money in a laptop and marketing materials with her professional logo. This former attorney stretched her money by doing everything from cutting living expenses to buying a used multifunction printer/fax/copier on eBay. It's helped her push annual sales well into the six figures.
Even with all that bootstrapping, don't neglect important things--if you're overwhelmed, consider hiring interns for school credit or hiring a virtual assistant for 10 hours a week. Frank suggests TeamDoubleClick.com as a one-stop virtual assistant shop. And splurge on the important stuff--like Zankan did when she purchased a quality anti-virus and protection software suite.
Having a professional-looking website is a great way to market yourself inexpensively, notes Frank. She suggests checking out sites like www.1and1.com and www.godaddy.com for startup website help. Further save money by negotiating interest rates with your bank or sharing office space with other small companies.